Hawaii Unterwasserflieger

Why swim underwater when you can fly

Photography: Stephen Frink

Why swim underwater when you can fly, in this one-of-a-kind submersible. Check out the Super Aviator in Hawaii.

The Super Aviator is less a submarine more an underwater plane. Where other mini-subs can be slow and cumbersome, the Super Aviator is sleek and manoeuvrable, able to stop and hover, do banking turns and keep up with marine mammals that swim alongside. It’s seat-of-the-pants stuff. It was developed by Sub Aviator Systems as a prototype for their Orca sub, which is now available to anyone with a couple of million to spare. For lesser mortals, the company’s co-founder and managing director, John Lewis, will be your co-pilot on the Super Aviator during free time on the film and scientific projects for which it’s used.

“The max speed for the Super Aviator is six knots,” says Lewis.

Super Aviator John Lewis

Think outside the cockpit

“Everybody’s seen Das Boot and thinks being in a sub is going to be a claustrophobic experience,” says John Englander. “But once the water comes down over the top of the Super Aviator, the dome disappears, it’s optically perfect, so you don’t get any sort of distortion. It’s like flying in an open biplane.”

“All conventional bubble subs max out at three knots. That’s fine if you’re near a reef, but if there’s any current you can’t deploy them. The Super Aviator can operate perfectly in a current, so there’s a wealth of new places you can go.” John Englander from Florida went down in the sub off Hawaii. “As an oceanographer, I’ve spent thousands of hours in Scuba gear,” he says. “I’ve also been in a sub before, but being in the Super Aviator was a new, exhilarating experience. It moves at far higher speeds than other subs or divers. It’s a great feeling and you’re not encumbered by equipment. It feels weird to be in a dry, comfortable environment and have an amazing view of the underwater world. It’s right there. It feels like there’s nothing between you and the water.”

And another thing

To do after resurfacing

For Hawaiian adventure on top of the water, try a hardcore 16-mile kayak trip along the remote and stunning Na Pali Coast, battling strong seas and aching biceps.

Hike to the Kilauea Volcano, which has been continuously erupting since 1983, and get within feet of Pahoehoe, as the molten lava flows are known. kalapanalavaboat.com

We don’t expect you to take on Jaws, Hawaii’s colossal surf break, but a beer on the beach watching world-class surfers do it is the next best thing. gohawaii.com

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07 2014 The Red Bulletin

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